Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 22:17

Is not the iniquity of Peor enough for us, from which we have not cleansed ourselves to this day, although a plague came on the congregation of the Lord ,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Fear of God;   Government;   Haste;   Misjudgment;   Motive;   Phinehas;   Plague;   Prudence;   Reproof;   Reubenites;   Uncharitableness;   War;   Zeal, Religious;   Thompson Chain Reference - Baal-Peor;   False;   Gods, False;   Idolatry;   Images;   Peor;   Worship, False;   Worship, True and False;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gad, the Tribe of;   Rebellion against God;   Reuben, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Phinehas;   Reuben;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Evil;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Baal-Peor;   Manasseh;   Phinehas;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Peor;   Phinehas;   Holman Bible Dictionary - High Priest;   Joshua, the Book of;   Peor;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Joshua;   Peor;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Peor ;   Phinehas ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Pe'or;   Phin'ehas;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Altar;   Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;   Peor;   Plague;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Baal;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Baal-Peor;   Moab;   Plague;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Is the iniquity of Peor too little - See this history, Numbers 25:3; (note), etc., and the notes there. Phinehas takes it for granted that this altar was built in opposition to the altar of God erected by Moses, and that they intended to have a separate service, priesthood, etc., which would be rebellion against God, and bring down his curse on them and their posterity; and, in order to show that God is jealous of his glory, he refers to the business of Baal Peor, which took place in that very country they were now about to possess, the destructive consequences of which he, through his zeal for the glory of God, was the means of preventing.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-22.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

From which we are not cleansed until this day - Phinehas, who had borne a conspicuous part in vindicating the cause of God against those who fell away to Baal-peor, means that terrible as the punishment had been, there were still those among them who hankered after Baal worship, and even practiced it in secret. (Compare Joshua‘s words, Joshua 24:14-23.)

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-22.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we have not cleansed ourselves unto this day, although there came a plague upon the congregation of Jehovah, that ye must turn away this day from following Jehovah? and it will be, seeing ye rebel today against Jehovah, that tomorrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel. Howbeit, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of Jehovah, wherein Jehovah's tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against Jehovah, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar besides the altar of Jehovah our God. Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the devoted thing, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity."

"The iniquity of Peor ..." (Joshua 22:17). The full account of this is in Numbers 25, all of which is presupposed by Phinehas' statement here.

"From which we have not cleansed ourselves unto this day ..." (Joshua 22:17). This indicates the long-lasting influence of the events at Baal-Peor. What Phinehas said here, is that there were a lot of people in Israel still around who were hankering after the sinful and sensuous worship of Baal.

"Jehovah will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel ..." (Joshua 22:18). This truth is the key to Israel's fear, and their determination to root out the evil they supposed to have occurred. They feared that God would be angry with all Israel. Phinehas reinforced that argument, by pointing out that although only one man had sinned in the instance of Achan and the devoted thing, yet God was angry with all Israel, and that Achan did not perish alone. Others also died because of his sin. This also presupposes all of the events regarding the repulse of Israel at Ai and the execution of Achan. In fact every line of the preceding Five Books of Moses cast their long shadow over Joshua from the first verse of it to the last.

"If the land of your possession be unclean ..." (Joshua 22:19). Phinehas in this, apparently, was seeking to give the Trans-Jordanic group some kind of an excuse.

If their erecting an altar had been due to their fear that the eastern Jordan tribes did not share in the promises concerning the "land of Canaan," due to their not being, in fact, in the land of Canaan, then, very well, Phinehas suggested, it would be better for them to abandon the Trans-Jordanic territories and come over to the western side and inherit with all the others. The meaning of this verse is considered to be somewhat ambiguous.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-22.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us,.... The worshipping of that idol, when in the plains of Moab; the history of which, see in Numbers 25:2, was that so small a sin, that another must be added to it, or a greater committed? since building an altar seemed designed not for a single action of idolatrous worship, but for the continuance of it, whereas the sin of Peor was only committed at one time, and not continued in:

from which we are not cleansed until this day; not cleared from the shame and disgrace of it, or the guilt of it expiated or removed; but it might be expected, as in the case of the golden calf, that God would still at times punish for it, when provoked by new crimes; or the sense is, that there were those among them that were infected with the same contagion, and whose inclinations were to commit the same, or like sin of idolatry:

although there was a plague in congregation of the Lord; of which twenty four thousand died, Numbers 25:9.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-22.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

[Is] the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not l cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,

(l) Meaning, God is not fully pacified, in that no punishment can be sufficient for such wickedness and idolatry.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-22.html. 1599-1645.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

To show the greatness of the sin through apostasy from the Lord, the speaker reminds them of two previous acts of sin on the part of the nation, which had brought severe judgments upon the congregation. “ Is there too little for us in the iniquity of Peor (i.e., with Peor, or through the worship of Peor, Numbers 25:3), from which we have not cleansed ourselves till this day, and there came the plague upon the congregation of Jehovah? ” את־עון is an accusative: see Ges . §117, 2; Ewald, §277, d . That plague, of which 24,000 Israelites died, was stayed through the zeal of Phinehas for the honour of the Lord (Numbers 25:4-9, Numbers 25:11). The guilt connected with the worship of Peor had thereby been avenged upon the congregation, and the congregation itself had been saved from any further punishment in consequence of the sin. When Phinehas, therefore, affirmed that the congregation had not yet been cleansed from the crime, he did not mean that they were still bearing or suffering from the punishment of that crime, but that they were not yet cleansed from that sin, inasmuch as many of them were still attached to idolatry in their hearts, even if they had hitherto desisted from it outwardly from fear of the infliction of fresh judgment.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/joshua-22.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,

Of Peor — That is, of our worshipping of Baal-peor, Numbers 25:3. Probably this is mentioned the rather, because Phinehas, the first commissioner in this treaty, had signalized himself in that matter: and because they were now at or near the very place, where that iniquity was committed.

Are not cleansed — For though God had pardoned it, as to the national punishment of it, Numbers 25:11, yet they were not yet throughly purged from it; partly because the shame and blot of that odious practice was not yet wiped off: and partly, because some of that corrupt leaven still remained among them, and though smothered for a time, yet was ready to break forth upon all occasions, See Joshua 24:33. And God also took notice of these idolatrous inclinations in particular persons, and found out ways to punish them.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-22.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 22:17 [Is] the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,

Ver. 17. Is the iniqity of Peor too little for us?] But that by heaping up sin to sin, we must needs heap up more wrath, and not rather redeem our own sorrows? should we be thus ambitious of our own ruin? and have we not yet sufficiently smarted Oh, what bloody wails left God upon our backs at that time! and is all forgotten? Cur turbatis κοινωφελες? Why bring ye the heavy hand of God upon us all by this your revolt? that he should now pay us home for the new and the old?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-22.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 17. Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, &c.— "Were not the abominable transgressions of which ye were guilty, respecting the idol of Peor, enough; and was it necessary, by adding sin to sin, to draw down fresh evils upon the nation, and shew yourselves to be so imperfectly cleansed, so badly cured of that fatal propensity to idolatry, which has already caused us so much affliction; though heaven has not yet punished us for the offence so highly as we deserve?" Phinehas, as we may see, supposes throughout, that the Israelites beyond Jordan had built altar against altar, with idolatrous views. To explain his mind, he recals the unhappy affair of Peor, which happened in the very country that had been assigned to these Israelites; that thus, after the zeal which he had displayed upon that occasion, his argument deduced therefrom might have the more peculiar weight.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-22.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The iniquity of Peor, i.e. of our worshipping of BaalPeer, Num 25.

From which we are not cleansed until this day; for though God had pardoned it, as to the national punishment of it, Numbers 25:11, yet they were not yet thoroughly purged from it; partly because the shame and blot of that filthy and odious practice was not yet wiped of; and partly because some of that corrupt leaven still remained among them, and though it smothered for a time, yet was ready to break forth upon all occasions. See Joshua 24:23. And God also took notice of these idolatrous inclinations in particular persons, and found out ways to punish them one time or other.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-22.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17.Is the iniquity of Peor too little — Phinehas had a vivid remembrance of that dreadful outbreak of crime whose curse his active zeal had turned away from the congregation by a bold thrust of his javelin. Numbers 25:1-13. Hence the naturalness of this historical allusion.

Not cleansed until this day — Though the divine wrath was turned away, the sad consequences of that crime were still visible.

Although there was a plague — Rather, and the plague was in the congregation.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-22.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 22:17. Is the iniquity of Peor — That is, of worshipping Baal-peor; too little for us? — Is it not enough that we provoked God to wrath then, but we must provoke him again now? Probably this is mentioned the rather, because Phinehas, the first commissioner in this treaty, had signalized himself in that matter; and because they were now at, or near, the very place where that iniquity was committed. From which we are not cleansed to this day — For though God had pardoned it, as to the national punishment of it, (Numbers 25:11,) yet they were not yet thoroughly purged from it; partly because the shame and blot of that odious practice were not yet wiped off, and partly because some of that corrupt leaven still remained among them; and though smothered for a time, yet was ready to break forth upon all occasions: see Joshua 24:33. And God also took notice of these idolatrous inclinations in particular persons, and found out ways to punish them.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-22.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Beelphegor. As they lived in the country, where this idol had been adored, Phinees was afraid lest they might have built the altar in his honour. He reminds them what destruction that worship had brought upon all Israel. He had been particularly zealous in appeasing the wrath of God, and therefore speaks with more authority. Hebrew, "is not the crime of Phegor enough for us, that we should not wish to expiate it until this day?" (Calmet) or Protestants, "is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day? (although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord)." The stain of this impiety still remained upon Israel. They ought, therefore, to endeavour by sincere repentance, to obliterate it entirely, and not, by fresh provocations, enkindle the dreadful wrath of God. (Haydock) --- There was reason to fear lest the Lord should punish this sin still more, as he is accustomed to do, when people relapse. (Calmet) --- All must therefore shew their zeal to prevent such crimes, as the multitude sometimes suffers for the offence of one, when they do not take all possible care to prevent it, ver. 20. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-22.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

iniquity = perverseness. Hebrew avah. App-44. Peor. Compare Numbers 25:3, Numbers 25:4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-22.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) The iniquity of Peor.—A very natural subject for reference on the part of Phinehas, who had distinguished himself by his zealous opposition to it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-22.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,
Is the iniquity
Numbers 25:3,4-18; Deuteronomy 4:3,4; Psalms 106:28,29
from which
Ezra 9:13,14; 1 Corinthians 10:8,11
Reciprocal: Numbers 25:2 - they called;  Numbers 31:16 - in the matter;  Deuteronomy 24:4 - thou shalt;  2 Chronicles 28:13 - add more;  Ezra 10:10 - to increase;  Nehemiah 13:18 - ye bring more;  Jeremiah 44:9 - ye forgotten;  Ephesians 5:6 - cometh;  Hebrews 12:15 - trouble

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-22.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

17.Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us? etc They represent the crime as more heinous, from their perverse obstinacy in not ceasing ever and anon to provoke the Lord by their abominations. They bring forward one signal example of recent occurrence. While they were encircling the sanctuary of God from the four cardinal points, like good watchmen of God, and when they had received the form of due worship, and were habituated to it by constant exercise, they had allowed themselves, through the seductive allurements of harlots, to be polluted by foul superstitions, and had worshipped Baal-Peor. As the whole people were implicated in this crime, the ten ambassadors do not hesitate to admit, that they were partners in the guilt. They therefore ask, Is not the iniquity which we contracted in the matter of Baal-Peor sufficient? They add, that they were not yet purified from it, just as if they had said, that the remembrance of it was not yet entirely buried, or that the vengeance of God was not yet extinguished; and hence they infer, that the two tribes and the half tribe, while with impious contumacy they turn aside from God, and shake off his yoke, not only consult ill for themselves, but are calling down similar destruction on the whole people, because God will avenge the insult offered him to a wider extent. This they confirm by the example of Achan, who, though he was alone when he secretly stole of the accursed thing, did not alone undergo the punishment of his sacrilege, but also dragged others along with him, as it was seen that some fell in the line of battle, while all were shamefully put to flight, because pollution attached to the people.

They reason from the less to the greater. If the anger of God burnt against many for the clandestine misdeed of one man, much less would he allow the people to escape if they connived at manifest idolatry. A middle view, however, is inserted, that if the two tribes and half tribe built up an altar, and if their condition was worse from not dwelling in the land of Canaan, let them rather come and obtain a settlement also in the land of Canaan, but let them not provoke God by a wicked rivalship. (184) Hence we infer, that they were not urged by some turgid impetus, since, even at their own loss and expense, they are willing kindly to offer partnership to those who had demanded a settlement and domicile for themselves elsewhere.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 22:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-22.html. 1840-57.